Muffet defies odds

A Murray Grey cow in Queensland’s far north may have earned a place in the record books after giving birth to quadruplets less than one year after birthing triplets.

“She was just a calf that was born out of a Brahman-cross-Charolais cow, mated to an Angus bull and yeah, since she’s been of breeding age she’s been delivering these extra bundles of joy all on her own. So it has been an interesting ride.”

According to Veterinary Obstetrics and Genital Diseases, the odds of a cow giving birth to quads is a one-in-700,000 event; and of all four calves being born alive is one in 11.2 million. At least for the immediate future the newborn calves and mother can look forward to some special care and attention in the home paddock, but the Beck’s have not ruled out letting six-year-old Muffet go back to the breeding herd.

“We have discussed the possibility of keeping her away from the bulls, but I think at this stage, because of her age, we’ll probably give her one more try.”

And do they expect Muffet’s amazing fertility powers to be passed on to her progeny? That’s a case “of watch this space”, says Mr Beck.

“All the twins were boy and girl twins. The general rule-of-thumb there is that the girl, they call her a freemartin, she’s more or less 95 per cent chance she’ll be infertile,” he said.

“As soon as you get into triplets and quads, there’s a more favourable guess.

“I suppose that those girl calves from the triplets or quads can go on to have multiples themselves.

“We’ve got two heifers out of last year’s triplets, and yes, it’ll certainly be a ‘watch this space’ for them in about 12 or 18 months I’d reckon.”

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